Amid reports from the United Kingdom Saturday that embattled Prime Minister Theresa May is on the edge of being tossed by her own Conservative Party, one of the party’s most promising upcoming leaders insists “May should stay.”
“[May] miscalculated on her strategy when calling an election for June 8 when she didn’t have to, but that is no reason to sack her — especially when we are barely two weeks away from starting the Brexit negotiations. We need to remain united and think about what is best for the country,” Resham Kotecha, deputy chairman of the Northwood Conservative Association, told Newsmax on Saturday. (Kotecha, unlike May, voted to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum.)
Cambridge graduate and corporate strategy consultant Kotecha, 28, spoke to me about 36 hours after conceding defeat herself in a widely-watched race for the House of Commons.
Many fellow conservatives who also experienced defeat blame May for calling an election three years before she was required to and then watching as their party dipped from a 15-seat majority in Commons to a plurality of 317 seats in the 650-seat House.
Not Kotecha, who pointed out that despite losing seats, conservatives actually rolled up more than 2 million more popular votes in the general election last Thursday than they did the last time British voters chose a government in 2015.
“Perhaps the timing [of the election] was wrong, but our track record on policy and the economy is excellent,” Kotecha insisted. “When you’ve closed tax loopholes, reduced unemployment and attracted small business and investment back to the British marketplace, you’re doing very, very well.”
The dilemma of May and the Conservative Party, she stressed, “is that we were not as good as Labour was in marketing our message this time. That is what we have to concentrate on — that, and making better use of social media.”
“Connecting to the electorate — that’s what we need to focus on, and not punishing the prime minister for an error in timing and a poor campaign,” she said.
Kotecha pointed to the opposition Labour Party and its controversial leader Jeremy Corbyn by way of example. “Here was someone that Conservatives felt was weak because of his past association with terrorists such as the Irish Republican Army and opposition to anti-terrorist measures by the government,” she said. “But young voters perceived him as a man of principle — even if his principles were dubious. “
Pollsters agree that where under-30 voters turned out a level of roughly 50 percent for the Brexit initiative last year, their turnout rose significantly in the election last week and played a pivotal role in Labour rising to 261 seats in Commons.
Kotecha’s personal saga is frequently mentioned by pundits and pols as a reason for predicting her eventual political ascent. Her parents were East African, Asian immigrants to the U.K., who both worked two jobs and were married 13 years before they had children.
“They wanted to be sure they could afford children,” said Kotecha, who has a twin sister named Ria (who left her job in Australia for a week to campaign for Resham in the recent election).
So dramatic was the contrast presented in the six-week contest in West Coventry between the young Conservative and Labour's Geoffrey Robinson that it attracted a half-page profile in the Financial Times.
Under the strict British election laws, candidates for parliament are limited to spending 11,500 pounds and no more on their campaigns. Unlike the U.S., any “independent expenditure” on behalf of that candidate even if he or she doesn’t know the person making the expenditure, is automatically counted against that 11,500 pound total.
“So we primarily depend on door-to-door canvassing to get out the message,” said Kotecha. “Even though I didn’t win, it was a great experience.”
But losing one or two races in tough districts and finally making it to the Commons in more winnable turf is a long-standing tradition for British politicians. In her mid-20s, a chemist named Margaret Roberts lost bids for Commons in 1950 and ’51. Denied the Conservative nomination in 1954, when she was married with infant twins, the young woman finally won a more winnable constituency in 1959 — as Margaret Thatcher.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.